RIVERA SUN – From Sept 18-26, tens of thousands of people took action for a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty, racism, and environmental destruction.
TOM H. HASTINGS and SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Itâ€™s time for us to show the world that Portland is a town of peace warriors. Letâ€™s practice activism that everyone can participate in, including our children. This world is theirs to inherit–letâ€™s make our streets safe for them again.
by Michael N. Nagler George Floyd is becoming the Emmett Till of the 21st Century. The ongoing, passionate, widespread, and no longer violent demonstrations that have come in the wake of his brutal death have given us an opportunity like that of…
J. MUNOZ and E. ANDUIZA – The choice between violence and nonviolence is available to any protest movement. Opting to engage in violence is more costly to the movement because it increases the chance of state repression and also reinforces the claims of those who oppose the movement. The academic research on this topic shows that nonviolent movements are more successful in achieving their long-term goals, whether influencing policy or bringing about regime change. Many researchers theorize that broad-based public support for protest movements is instrumental to their success and that the use of violence may weaken this support.
KATHY KELLY – Jeju Island, South Korea â€“ For the past two weeks [the latter part of May], Iâ€™ve been in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists living in Gangjeong Village on ROKâ€™s Jeju Island. Gangjeong is one of the ROKâ€™s smallest villages, yet activists here, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world.
PATRICK T. HILLER – The red line was crossed; letâ€™s fire a shot across the bow. It sounds so easy, so clean, so surgical. Splash! A harmless shot landing in the water to make the enemy compliant. Since the American public â€“ and for that matter the entire world â€“ is rightfully doubtful of yet another U.S. military adventure, the administration is trying to play down what indeed are the preparations for going to war with another country.
STEPHANIE VAN HOOK – Nonviolent Army: to many, this would seem like an unnatural contradiction. Armies are by definition violent; nonviolence is too passive and weak to be of any use in societal defense. But . . . soldiers are only conditioned to use violence, . . . and nonviolence does not mean passivity; it means active, creative courage that goes beyond refraining from consciously harming others toward building a community where everyone belongs–where no one is â€œother.â€
INTERVIEW BY TERRY MESSMAN – Erica Chenoweth and her co-author, Maria Stephan, reveal in their book, Why Civil Resistance Works, that during the period of 1900 to 2006, nonviolent resistance campaigns are about twice as effective as violent ones in achieving their immediate goals of either regime change or territorial change. They also found that these trends hold even under conditions where most people expect nonviolent resistance to be ineffective.
Nonviolent campaigns were effective, for instance, against dictatorships; against highly repressive regimes that are using violent and brutal repression against the movements; and also in places where people would expect a nonviolent campaign to be impossible to even emerge in the first place â€” such as very closed societies with no civil society organization to speak of prior to the onset of the campaign.
Chenoweth conducted her research because of the skepticism that a lot of people have about the efficacy of nonviolence in these circumstances. In most of the violent insurgencies we look at, people will say the reason they are violent is because nonviolent resistance canâ€™t work in these conditions. This is why itâ€™s particularly striking that even in these types of conflicts, weâ€™re seeing nonviolence resistance outperform so dramatically.
REP. BARBARA LEE – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) on February 15 introduced a new bill in the House of Representatives that would create a Cabinet-level “Department of Peacebuilding.”
JOHN-PAUL FLINTOFF – In a long life of scholarship and dissent, Gene Sharp has been imprisoned and persecuted, but never silenced. His ideas continue to inspire resistance movements across the world. Gene Sharp is not a typical pacifist. â€œWhen I used to lecture, I would always get complaints from the pacifists,â€ says the academic, who turns 85 this month. â€œThey would say I wasnâ€™t pure…”
MICHAEL NAGLER – The big picture is this: we live in a violent system. Overriding the unquenchable yearning for peace and unity in every one of us, and which is arguably much closer to our actual nature, is a distorting culture that possesses the world of our thoughts and emotions. We see it in, among other things, The overriding narrative of our culture, which is predicated on a dispiriting image of the human being. Institutions, like retributive justice that operate from this narrative. The guiding principle of competition that has come to be enshrined in business, education, entertainment, sports â€” and of course war.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, as former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan noted: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”
DR. JOSEPH GERSON -Beyond this hysteria, peace, labor and immigrant rights activists and scholars are gathering in Chicago for the May 18-19 Counter-Summit for Peace and Economic Justice, to present the case against NATO-driven militarism.
GEORGE GOEHL – We live in an America where more than 46 million Americans live below the poverty level. This is the highest poverty rate since the Census Bureau began publishing such figures.
TODD DIEHL – As September 11, 2001 reaches its 10th anniversary, I would like to propose an alternative: Love Your Enemy. We have all witnessed the actions of a nation focused on hate and revenge. Now it is time to move our hearts and turn our focus to actions based on love, reconciliation, and healing. As Martin Luther King, Jr, said, â€œIt is love that will save our civilization; love even for our enemies.â€
ERICA CHENOWETH – From Cairo, Egypt, to Madison, Wisconsin, civil societyis fighting back through massive nonviolent resistance. But what makes for a successful campaign? The data is in.
WINSLOW MYERS – Keeping the biggest possible picture in mind, paradoxically, may give us the best lens through which to focus clearly upon the messy details of our lives at every level â€” internationally, nationally, locally, even personally.
What can this abstract immensity have to do with our own lives? More than we think, because we really are a product of the changes the earth has undergone over eons, and we are totally subject to the rules that dictated those changes. By rules we mean big processes, ones we are still trying to fully understand. Processes like evolution itself.
DAVID SWANSON – I may soon have an opportunity to meet with nonviolent activists in Afghanistan, an area of the world we falsely imagine has earned the name “graveyard of empires” purely through violent resistance. I was educated in the United States and learned in some detail about the lives of several morally repulsive halfwits who happened to have “served” in various U.S. wars, assaults, and genocides. But I was never even taught the name Badshah Khan. Were you?
BETTY A. REARDON AND TONY JENKINS – The New York Times recently featured significant articles highlighting the important role of non-formal civilian education and training contributing to the nonviolent toppling of dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt (Feb 13: A Tunisian-Egyptian Link That Shook Arab History; Feb 16: Shy U.S. Intellectual Created Playbook Used in a Revolution). In our peacebuilding work, we have found that such significant nonviolent political transformations are not likely to occur without the essential education and training of everyday citizens in the knowledge and skills of peacemaking, mediation and negotiation, conflict transformation, and nonviolent resistance. This is why we believe the February 18 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of amendment 100 to HR 1 (246 to 182 â€“ largely along partisan lines) that will eliminate all federal funding for the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) is a tremendous mistake.
ALEX DOHERTY – [It gives me especial pleasure to present this article to PeaceWorker readers because I recall hearing Mark Rudd speak at a rally on the U of California campus in 1968, just after the occupation he refers to below. I thought his rhetoric was wrong-headed at the time and am delighted that he â€“ who later became one of U.S. movementâ€™s most ardent supporters of violence â€“ has now come to appreciate the importance of nonviolence. â€“ Editor]
[From 1965 to 1968, Mark Rudd was a student activist and organizer in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter at Columbia University. He was one of the leaders of the Spring 1968 occupation of five buildings and the subsequent strike against the universityâ€™s complicity with the Vietnam war. After being kicked out of Columbia, he became a full-time organizer for SDS, where he helped found the militant Weatherman faction. Mark was elected National Secretary of SDS in June, 1969, then helped found the â€œrevolutionaryâ€ Weather Underground, which had as its goal â€œthe violent overthrow of the government of the U.S. in solidarity with the struggles of the people of the world.â€ Wanted on federal charges of bombing and conspiracy, Mark was a fugitive from 1970 to 1977. He spoke to NLPâ€™s Alex Doherty on the dangers of self-indulgent activism and his thoughts on current anti-war organizing in the United States.]
MICHAEL TRUE – Blind faith — adhering to a proposition with no reasonable justification of its truth — is more dangerous for politicians than it is for religionists. True believers may acknowledge their blind faith in religious dogma, while foreign policy wonks seldom acknowledge their blind faith in political dogma. Yet many legislators and administrators â€” as well as columnists and academics â€” adhere to the dogma of â€œmilitary supremacy,â€ which dominates U.S. foreign policy. American tax payers, who have invested heavily in that dogma, may have serious questions about whether it works. The evidence?
TED GLICK – â€œThose who take the meat from the table teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men and women.â€ – Bertolt Brecht
Several times in columns over the last year or so I have written about the need for a â€œthird force,â€ a broad, inclusive, independent, and progressive united front.
LEONARD EIGER – Last Saturday, January 15, the Seattle Raging Grannies set the mood for honoring Martin Luther King, Jrâ€™s birthday at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington. Eighty three people from the Center participated in a vigil at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale with the help of a full scale, 44 foot long, inflatable Trident D-5 missile. Each D-5 missile, deployed on Trident nuclear submarines, carries up to 8 warheads, each with an explosive yield of up to 475 kilotons. Each D-5 missile costs approximately $60 million.
TOM H. HASTINGS — Here comes the 4th of July and we are barely done with Memorial Day. The flags of nationalistic patriotic fervor sprout and resprout across the land, in the parks, on the lawns, on billboards, on the Internet, and generally everywhere. Military jets will fly in formation, anthems will fill the air, and military uniforms will be ubiquitous. Little children are getting used to this, and they never see the adults they trust question this, so they come to trust the guns, the songs about bombs, the valorization of violence, and the equation of killing with freedom.
DAVID HARTSOUGH: When people think of Palestine and Israel, they often picture Palestinians as suicide bombers and terrorists while the Israeli military are seen as bombing whole neighborhoods in Palestine. The violence and counter-violence and endless war has created a hopelessness about any peaceful future for the Holy Land.
RANDALL AMSTER: What if they held a war and no one came? No one was out in the streets, no one paid the “big speech” much mind, no one asked for permission to protest, no one wrote an open letter to the President. No one enlisted for it, no one paid for it, and no one watched it on television.
KEN McCORMACK: If we are to have peace, it must begin with the children.
Inaugurating the recent OAS Assembly in San Pedro Sula, Honduaran President Manuel Zelaya spoke about nonviolence.
KEN McCORMACK: The Fourth of July is when “We, the people,Ã¢â‚¬Â light up the sky with conspicuous consumption â€” blowing up millions of dollars because it’s pretty. Sometimes, it seems as though we are indeed only killer apes, as the anthropologist said, whose salient feature is a love of things that go “bang.”Â But the founders thought differently. They aimed their fireworks at bad government, at the “system” that enslaves the rest of us. So what are we celebrating? The trillions of our dollars transferred to the Power Elite in order to save their country?